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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Calendar Girls

posted by Donna Henes

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content!

 

In 1998 Angela Baker of Yorkshire Dales, England, lost her husband to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a tribute to the memory of John Baker, she and ten of her colleagues from the Women’s Institute decided to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. But how?

Someone had the bold and brazen idea to put out a nude calendar of themselves — normally conventional, sedate ladies in their middle years. The youngest was 47 and the oldest, 65. Wearing little more than a smile and a trademark set of pearls, they were photographed in typical scenes, their modesty protected only by a baby-grand piano, a teapot and sprouting broccoli on a vegetable patch.

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The self-published calendar was released officially on April 12, 1999. It was an instant sensation with the first printing selling out in a week. 10,000 more copies were made during a massive second printing and that was gone after just three more weeks. Word spread quickly about the calendar, and the international press soon jumped on the story.

By December of 1999, just nine months after its launch, the calendar had sold 88,000 copies, and raised some $550,000 for leukemia research. That number has grown significantly since then, especially after Workman Publishing released an American version of the calendar.

In an interview John Baker’s wife, Calendar Girl Angela Baker, said the following, “We are constantly amazed at the response we had, and still get, to our Calendar. I cannot believe that we were able to raise so much money and I am delighted that it is being spent on such worthwhile research. I know that John would be tremendously honored to know that we have achieved so much…”

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Over the next decade, they found themselves traveling the world, being portrayed in a West End play and by Dame Helen Mirren in a film, and have now raised around £2 million for Leukemia Research.

Meanwhile, almost every fire brigade and sports team in the United Kingdom have followed their lead.

Actress Glenda Jackson was one of the calendar’s sponsors, which likely helped to ignite interest. Jackson is a member of the British Parliament where she serves as Labor MP for Hamstead and Highgate. She is the only British Parliament Member to have won an Oscar.

Six members of the Yorkshire-based Women’s Institute with a combined age of 379-years old have been reunited for a new 2010 calendar in living color. Now “we definitely have to have bigger props,” joked Queen Baker, 63, who can be seen playing the piano in February. She continued, “I was a bit apprehensive about color, because older women can look a bit funny in color, and we wanted it to be just as good as the first one. Then, when I did see it in color, I thought ‘Well, maybe, why not?”‘

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*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife.

Queen Mama Donna is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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A Hymn To Venus

posted by Donna Henes

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content!

 

A Hymn To Venus

BY Sappho

O Venus, beauty of the skies,

To whom a thousand temples rise,

Gaily false in gentle smiles,

Full of love-perplexing wiles;

O goddess, from my heart remove

The wasting cares and pains of love.

 

If ever thou hast kindly heard

A song in soft distress preferred,

Propitious to my tuneful vow,

A gentle goddess, hear me now.

Descend, thou bright immortal guest,

In all thy radiant charms confessed.

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Thou once didst leave almighty Jove

And all the golden roofs above:

The car thy wanton sparrows drew,

Hovering in air they lightly flew;

As to my bower they winged their way

I saw their quivering pinions play.

 

The birds dismissed (while you remain)

Bore back their empty car again:

Then you, with looks divinely mild,

In every heavenly feature smiled,

And asked what new complaints I made,

And why I called you to my aid?

 

What frenzy in my bosom raged,

And by what cure to be assuaged?

What gentle youth I would allure,

Whom in my artful toils secure?

Who does thy tender heart subdue,

Tell me, my Sappho, tell me who?

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Though now he shuns thy longing arms,

He soon shall court thy slighted charms;

Though now thy offerings he despise,

He soon to thee shall sacrifice;

Though now he freezes, he soon shall burn,

And be thy victim in his turn.

 

Celestial visitant, once more

Thy needful presence I implore.

In pity come, and ease my grief,

Bring my distempered soul relief,

Favour thy suppliant’s hidden fires,

And give me all my heart desires.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife.

Queen Mama Donna is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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Ancient Venuses

posted by Donna Henes

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content!

 

Paleolithic carvings and figures found in caverns and caves are filled with life-affirming female imagery which bear reference to woman as matrix, as Creatrix, to moon cycles and to menstrual magic, and which relay profound reverence in their rendering.

Of the more than sixty known Stone Age sculptures collected at sites scattered from Spain to the Ukraine, only five are thought to be male. This is especially interesting given that skeletal remains from the same locations indicate that men outnumbered women by three to two.

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This earliest art depicts grandly voluptuous female forms whose sturdy stature suggests commanding confidence, stunning strength and authority. Although they are small enough to snuggle in the palm of one’s hand, these goddess totems project a powerful, primordial potency.

The Venus of Willendorf, the Venus of Meton, the Venus of Lespugue, with their big breasts and belly, huge hips and ass, stand frank and fecund, self contained, central. Formidable and efficacious. Faceless, their limbs are abbreviated. Their entire focus is centered on their own nubile torso which tapers to a point, a fertile triangle — the tip of the vortex of their sex.

The Venus of Laussel is thought to be the oldest relief sculpture in the world. At least thirty thousand years ago, she presided over the entrance of a cave in southern France which was used as a ritual sanctuary. Glorious, she stands with one hand caressing her own swollen, pregnant belly. With the other arm raised high she salutes the sky with a crescent moon which is marked with the cycle of her thirteen annual periods. She was originally painted with the earthy red ochre of her holy blood.

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Inside the cave are pictured scenes of pleasure and purpose; coitus and conception, copulation and birth. What ceremonies might have been celebrated in this sacred sheltered chamber? This recessed cleft womb-room deep inside the body of Mother Earth?

We can only imagine!

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife.

Queen Mama Donna is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

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Happy Interdependence Day

posted by Donna Henes

 

I was recently invited to address a gathering of clergy who are being trained to serve as resident chaplains in the pastoral care department of a major urban medical center. Specifically, they asked me to present the shamanic point of view of team building with an emphasis on creating alliances and community.

What a fascinating assignment. I immediately sat myself down to give some serious thought to the substance of their request. After much rifling through of books and files as well as several sessions of deep meditation on the topic at hand, I realized that there is no such thing.

From a shamanic point of view (as well as quantum scientific thought) separation is a false concept. It is redundant to think of reaching out to build teams, alliances and communities, since we are already all connected, allied, joined together as one. The fact is there is no such thing as opposing sides.

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There is only one side: just us folks, all of us everywhere, trying to live life as best we can, much more alike than different. There is no us and them. There is only us. We — all of us who occupy this planet: organic and inorganic; living and not; past, present, and future —are the world.

We come from our Mother Earth and return to Her belly. We are made of the same substance as the sea, the soil, the stars. There are, and ever have been, only so many molecules in existence, and all the rest — birth, growth, death, decay, development, change, evolution, transformation — is really just about recycling.

We breathe the same air as our cave-dwelling ancestors, continually inhaling and exhaling, trading carbon dioxide and oxygen with our plant relatives untold billions of times over the millennia. And the same holds true for water. We drink the tears of crocodiles and elephants. We wash in the drainage of the ages. It rains, it pools, it evaporates. We drink, we pee. Again and again and again in a grand scale cosmic round robin.

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All borders and boundaries and separations are pure illusion. Each time we touch someone we leave some of our skin atoms behind and pick up a parcel of new ones in an intimate epidermal exchange. Thus we merge, quite literally becoming part of each other. I am you and you are me and we are we. We are all in this together, inextricably bound, riding on our beautiful blue planet through space and time. We are one team, one community, one world, one living, breathing entity. And the sooner we realize it, the happier, safer and saner we will be.

Today we are surrounded by artificial division, manipulated resentment and fear-mongered anxiety. The real dynamic being played out right now is not about conflicting religious, economic or nationalistic factions. It is not even about war. The struggle is actually between those who believe that the world is defined in terms of contrast, of black and white opposition — good or evil, right or wrong, war or peace, with us or against us — and those who are able to see things in a more harmonious, holistic and congruent manner.

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These are deciding times. It is imperative for those of us who perceive the big picture to make a concerted effort to reach out in ever-expanding circles of affinity, support, and empathetic embrace. Now is the time to create healthy, functioning networks in recognition and in honor of our mutual state of being and our common fate.

Let us come out of the cocoon closets of our isolated, separate selves and set our intentions on unity. Let us come together to make connections. To make friends. To make sense. To make art. To make amends. To make whoopy. To make time. To make magic. To make love. To make change. To make peace in our hearts and on the planet.

Let us project ourselves outward as cooperative partners; as interconnected members of our families, communities, species and world; as consciously coexistent inhabitants of our planet, and as conscientious co-creators of our combined future. Life on Earth depends upon our interdependent efforts.

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As Queens, it is incumbent upon us to step to conscientious leadership. We have the whole world in our very capable hands.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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